17% Rise In Anaemia Among People In J&K: NFHS Survey

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Highest Spike In Anaemia Reported Among Children Aged 6-59 Months

Srinagar- The fifth and latest round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has flagged a worrying increase in the percentage of anaemia across age groups, particularly among children and women in the erstwhile state of J&K as the percentage of anaemic patients worsened in the past half a decade.

Several of J&K’s nutritional indicators have worsened since the fourth round of the NFHS, which was held in 2015-16. But the erstwhile state has hit a major demographic milestone when the percentage of anaemia in J&K increased at an average of 17 percent in all the age groups, according to the latest survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare between 2019 and 2021.

The data in NFHS 2019-21, the fifth in the series, show that among all age groups, the highest spike in anaemia was reported among children aged 6-59 months where the anaemia percentage was recorded at 72.7 percent in NFHS-5 report from 53.8 percent in NFHS-4, 2015-16 report.

The data show that the number was higher in rural J&K where the rate stood at 73.5 per cent compared to urban J&K where the rate was recorded at 70.1 percent.

This is followed by anaemia in females aged 15-19 years where the percentage has increased to a gruelling 65.9 percent in NFHS-5 from 48.9 percent in the NFHS-4 report. In this group, too, the number was higher in rural areas where the percentage stood at 67.5 percent compared to urban J&K where, as per NFHS, the rate was 61.4 percent.

In the 15-49 years category for females, the anaemia in NFHS-5 was recorded at 65.9 percent which has increased by at least 17 percent from NFHS-4 when the percentage was recorded at 48.9 percent.

These figures were placed according to the findings of phase two of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).

The Government of India on November 24 released the factsheets of key indicators on population, reproductive and child health, family welfare, nutrition and others for India including J&K, clubbed under phase two of the 2019-21 NFHS-5.

Among pregnant women aged 15-49 years, 44.1 per cent were found to be anaemic compared to 46.9 per cent in the previous survey. But in this group, there was no stark difference between urban J&K (44.1 percent) and rural J&K (44.1 percent).

The prevalence of anaemia among men, the survey showed, was significantly lower compared to other groups. For NFHS-5, men between the ages of 15-49 years were recorded at 36.7 percent compared to 20.4 percent in NFHS-4.

The report further revealed that in NFHS-5, 31.1 percent of men in the age group of 15-19 in J&K was relatively higher as the rate stood at 53.5 percent compared to 29.5 percent in NFHS-4.

Pertinently, a sharp rise in anaemia was also recorded in several other states as well among women aged between 15 and 49 years. The erwtshile state is preceded by Tripura (12.9 percentage rise), Mizoram (10.1 percentage rise) and West Bengal (8.9 percentage rise).

It is pertinent to mention here that the NFHS-5 fieldwork for Jammu & Kashmir was conducted from July 1, 2019 to January 30, 2020 and the Information was gathered from 18,086 households, 23,037 women, and 3,087 men.

Notably, as per NFHS-5 report, anaemia rose at an average of 3 percent across age groups in NFHS-5 when compared to NFHS-4 at the National level of India.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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